Former head of Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Jeh Johnson, took to ABC this week to declare that the existence of Confederate statues was a “homeland security” threat. This is the same official which purged the term “radical Islam” from all government documents, because he didn’t see the threat as real.
“What alarms so many of us from a security perspective is that so many of the statues, the Confederate monuments, are now, modern-day, becoming symbols and rallying points for white nationalism, for neo-Nazis, for the KKK, and this is most alarming,” Johnson said on the show. “We fought a world war against Nazism. The KKK reigned terror on African-Americans for generations,” he added.
Johnson expressed his support for the leaders of states and cities that are advocating for the removal of the monuments. “I salute those in cities and states who are taking down a lot of these monuments for reasons of public safety and security,” Johnson said.
Johnson framed the debate over confederate monuments as not one of historical preservation and appreciation but as a moral one. “That’s a matter of public safety and homeland security and doing what’s right,” Johnson said.
President Trump tweeted last week and expressed that the removal of the monuments was simply “foolish” and argued that the actions are tearing the “history and culture of our great country” to shreds.
During his interview, Johnson also expressed that while he supports the removal of the monuments, he doesn’t support the removal of monuments dedicated to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson – an action that most Black Lives Matter activists support taking.
He stated, “I think most Americans understand, most African-Americans understand, that many of the founders of our nation were slave owners, but most of us are not advocating that we take them off the currency or drop Washington’s name from the nation’s capital.” Referring his cousins with the last name Washington, he stated, “And they’re not changing their names. They’re proud of their names.”
However, just yesterday, a number of black youth destroyed a 200-year old Christopher Columbus statue – who played no part in the American civil war – because they believed he represented white supremacism and oppression. It seems that the black community does in fact believe that every monument needs to be destroyed.
Johnson also went on to discuss the recent departures of top figures from the White House and expressed that the military generals present in the White House would at any cost continue to carry out their duties. “Frankly, if John Kelly or my friend Jim Mattis came to me and said I’m thinking about resigning from this White House, I’d say absolutely not. You have to stay,” Johnson told Raddatz. “As John reportedly said, it’s country first. And we need people like John Kelly, Jim Mattis, H.R. McMaster to right the ship,” he stated.
H.R. McMaster is a known Muslim sympathizer, who is on record arguing that Islam is simply a misunderstood “religion of peace.”